FINDING READERS FOR YOUR BOOKS
by Lindsay McKenna
Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson, Arizona
March 11, 2017
Copyright 2017 Lindsay McKenna
To get a copy of this handout on Google Docs
This is what worked for me when I walked out of Harlequin after 30 years, in November 2014. I didn’t know that in mid-2014 that the KDP/Amazon algorithm was no more and that meant Amazon was NOT going to promo your book at all. Secondly, I thought my Harlequin readers would follow me. They did not. I literally jettisoned myself out of a trad pub (traditional publisher) career and jumped from the frying pain into the fire.
I talked to Indie authors who were highly successful and asked what worked for them. I wrote it all down. They said, write a short story, novella or book and give it away free. I wrote LAST CHANCE, a short story.
I gave away 19,686 eBooks. It did generate some readers, but not the amount I was hoping for…maybe 200-400 new readers.
TOOLS FOR MEDIA CONSIDERATION TO GET NEW READERS
One suggested blog tours. I hired Tasty Blog Tours. That did get me readers. But I found out a lot of the ‘stops’ on the tour after reading my book they were putting up on their website, gave it a review that wasn’t good for selling a book. Some of these owners/operators think they’re the know-all, see-all of an author’s story. Consequently, I would only send out 3 excerpts from the book and refused to send them a free copy of my book to review. This has worked well for me.
www.Freshfiction.com will charge you for their promo purposes on their website. They also have 1 or 2 contests a month that you pay for. You MAY get some readers, but in my opinion, not enough for a $1,500.00 a year contracts that gives you a free monthly contest. Still, it’s an important website and if nothing else, you get some notice (they will put in your book(s), any reviews, they also will review your book. For a beginner, I would recommend them. They also have cheaper rates and all that is available on their website. I do not recommend using their eblast. I did not work for me.
WEBSITES THAT PROMOTE A FREE BOOK for a fee:
For a “free” book (and some take books to sale) I tried these while learning the ropes of the business of trying to get new readers:
www.freebooksy.com is a strong business consideration. I did get readers from them.
www.genrepulse.com did produce a 174 downloads of my free LAST CHANCE
www.choosybookworm.com is one I recommend.
www.sweetfreebooks.com delivered 90 books sales. Another one to consider.
www.fussylibrarian.com delivered 100-book bump on my free LAST CHANCE
www.ebooksoda.com delivered small sales bump on my free book.
www.contentmo.com highly recommended…I had strong sales bump
www.storyfinds.com highly recommended
FACEBOOK: Have your AUTHOR page on FB because you can get more than 5,000 readers and you won’t be limited by FB. If you have a ‘regular’ FB page you’re allowed up to, but no more than, 5M people on it.
Seek out and find FB “clubs” or “groups” who are in your genre. Go to SEARCH box and type in: Groups who write (fill in the blank here): romance, romantic-suspense, thriller, mystery, westerns…
WHY? Because these authors cross-pollinate with other authors. They also set up FB parties, which I found to be of strong benefit in finding new readers, and invite you to participate. Make friends, be helpful/supportive and they’ll help you. Also, those who have newsletters may ask if you have a book coming out and they’ll promo it in their newsletter. Of course, you will have a newsletter (most important tool in your Indie bag) too—and you will cross-promote their book when it comes out, too.
Author Fan page:
Set up your Goodreads page. This is a place where you WILL get a lot of your readers. This is one of the best places to get readers.
Is a great place to show off your ‘cover reveal’ on your latest book. Lots of readers troll this place. Good to get invested in it. Use it for ‘cover reveals.’ I find Pinterest a good place to focus on with covers.
I’ve never found Twitter to be especially helpful but maybe because I don’t know how to use it properly. If it works for you? Use it.
Although these are falling out a favor a bit, I still recommend having one. It’s a way to communicate with readers, also give out an excerpt or share other promo info.
Is an absolute must. You can hold CONTESTS, BLOGS, and have your NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE, and all the intel on your books, book covers and anything else (such as a series and what book to read first). You may have AUDIO there, or other sales tools, as well, depending up on what works for you. See my website for an example of this gathering of all media into one place. You can also check your analytics on it as readers come to you for everything. Your website should be your one-stop-shopping-center.
Amazon author page
Is a MUST. Also, link it to your blog. Every time you change a blog on this page, it strikes the algorithm and you may get a little ‘love’ from Amazon as a result.
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